‘Catch ’em early’ is the buzzword for Kerala Agricultural University’s new module on participatory learning for the first year BSc (Hons) Agriculture course.

The university’s academic council has approved the module, which will be implemented in association with the Agricultural Knowledge Centres (AKC) at block and panchayat levels.

The concept, among the first of its kind in the country, was mooted by State Agriculture Minister P Prasad.

The AKCs were created in 2020-21 as part of the Subikhsha Keralam Scheme to strengthen extension-research-farmer linkages in agriculture development. It aimed to address farm vulnerabilities related to crop production, plant health management, market risks, management of post-harvest losses and so on.

Expert guidance

Kerala Agricultural University officials said the new programme would help students gain a comprehensive understanding of the problems and likely institutional interventions to augment farmers’ livelihood. Under the guidance of university scientists and extension professionals, it will provide students real-time field experience in farm planning, agro-ecology, stakeholder linkages, production, post-harvest management, value addition, and marketing. It will also enhance their knowledge of the State’s agricultural economy.

The programme will be launched as a compulsory course in the second semester of the BSc (Hons) Agriculture 2022 batch and continue up to the fourth semester.

Students will undergo a minimum of 120 hours of training, which includes on-farm camps and periodical visits to project areas.

The programme will also include students from the College of Co-operation, Banking and Management and the College of Climate Change and Environmental Science under the Faculty of Agriculture.